Brussels Sprouts Incident
Calfee, Capt. Irving, TX Fire Dept.
Recently, our Engine Two was called to the scene of a person choking. The
MICU, or ambulance, was on the way as well, but the engine arrived a few
minutes ahead of them, The first arriving firefighters found a frightening
situation at the home of an older couple, where the wife was obviously in
The lady was really choking. This person was turning blue but moving some
air. With just a little assistance the food in her esophagus was dislodged.
She coughed up a Brussels sprout and placed it on her plate. Throughout this,
the husband seemed unconcerned. Perhaps he was just confident in our ability.
After all, he was the one to call for assistance.
When the ambulance arrived, the engine crew had a conscious patient who was
feeling much better. Part of our normal routine is to give the paramedics
on the MICU a complete history of everything that occurred. There was only
one problem. When we came to the part where we showed them exactly what she
had choked on, the brussels sprout was not where the old lady had left it.
Turning our gaze toward the old man sitting at the table we could see he
was still chewing the last morsel of food he could steal from her plate.